Former Carbondale state qualifying wrestler Alli Ragan is making her sixth appearance in the last seven years at the Women’s Senior Freestyle World Wrestling Championships, competing in the 59 kg. weight class in Nursultan, Kazakhstan, starting Wednesday.
Ragan, 27, is a prohibitive favorite to win the gold medal after winning silver in 2016 and 2017. She also won two junior worlds bronze medals in 2011 and 2012 as well as a gold medal at the 2017 Pan-Am Games and a silver medal at the 2013 World University Games. She is a two-time collegiate champion in 2013 and 2014 and second place finisher in 2011 and 2012.
Her main competition, Yuzuka Inagaki, from Japan, is the reigning Asian champion at 59 kg and the World Junior Champion at 62 kg.
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Ragan burst on the international scene her senior year at King College (TN), earning a spot at the Worlds for the first time in 2013 finishing ninth. She followed up with a fifth place finish in 2014 and a lost in the second round in 2015 before finishing second in both 2016 and 2017.
Last year she had to pull out of the Worlds when her doctors told her a long time upper back/neck injury could result in paralysis if she continued wrestling.
After she had five herniated discs repaired, she returned to action the day before April Fools Day in an exhibition at Beat the Streets Los Angeles, but it was far from a joke when she showed she was back by slamming her opponent with a five-point suplex. She then won the Wrestling Open and the Final X to earn her spot on the 2019 USA team.